08 July 2019

President's Blog: Second Quarter 2019

Dear Friends,

The summer has settled in and many may be already heading for summer vacation. For the PVRI, and its growing members, this is the closure of a particularly successful academic year.  The 13th PVRI Annual World Congress in Barcelona gathered the highest number of PVRI delegates (around 450, far topping the Miami meeting which gathered 300 delegates) from all around the world in a charming and hospitable Mediterranean and European city. The scientific content duly prepared by an energetic Scientific Organizing Committee composed of Sébastien Bonnet, Soni Savai-Pullamsetti, Joan Albert Barberà, Anna Hemnes, Steeve Provencher and Christophe Guignabert, was overall very well received, with ratings mostly in the excellent category. This was immediately followed by the 1st Symposium of the International Consortium for Genetic Studies in PAH, organized by Nick Morrell under the PVRI banner, which was equally successful and very well attended.

Since then, our delegates met again in Dallas during the annual PVRI ATS Get-together, reaching again the highest number of attendees for this annual event - a total of 165 members. Just around the corner are the ESC and ERS International Congresses, where we will also be planning a PVRI social gathering at the ERS. Details to follow.   

Just a few days ago, the 6th Drug Discovery & Development Symposium was held in Paris, France, on 1-2 July 2019 under the auspices of the Organizing Committee composed of PVRI members, Marc Humbert, Gérald Simonneau, John Newman and Stuart Rich. This meeting again exceeded our expectations, with a total of 136 delegates. The venue was not the only part of the attraction.

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The scientific talks focused on insights into Phase 2 clinical trials, both failures and successes, general designs and relevant endpoints, and strategies aimed at improvement. A second relevant focus was on novel clinical trials based on pre-clinical models exploring new pathways (outside of the known three signaling pathways consisting of the endothelin, nitric oxide and prostacyclin pathways) and moving beyond the Golden Age of the past two decades, as coined by Professor Simonneau in his opening seminal lecture on 'Drug Development in PAH: Where we started and where we are today’.

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The last afternoon session of this two-day meeting was devoted to the PVRI Innovative Drug Development Inititative (IDDI), led by Paul Corris, Sylvia Nikkho and Peter Fernandes, and focused essentially on endpoints in clinical trials, risk assessment in PAH clinical trials, drug repurposing, and biomarkers. Aside from the outstanding scientific quality of the 6th Drug Development Symposium, the overall success of this meeting was also due to spirited and constructive discussion among speakers, panelists, and attendees. The 7th Drug Development Symposium will be held in Boston in July 2020. Stay tuned for this next exciting program.

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From an international standpoint, the PVRI was delighted to sponsor the 3rd Pulmonary Diseases Summit organized in Tabriz, Iran by PVRI delegate Farid Rashidi. The PVRI was highly represented by Gérald Simonneau, Irene Lang and Marion Delcroix, as speakers. Upcoming events include the 2nd PVRI EU Task Force meeting in Catania, Sicily, organized by Stefano Ghio and Dario Vizza and a PH meeting in Aswan, Egypt, organized by Sir Magdi Yacoub and featuring several PVRI speakers.

From a PVRI educational standpoint, Martin Johnson and Colin Church, from the University of Glasgow, with the expert help of our Marketing Manager Aaron Shefras, are now actively involved in the second phase of the PVRI Digital Clinic, providing 9 additional patient cases from various academic PH centers. This is expected to be launched at our next Annual World Congress in Lima, in January 2020.

We are very pleased to announce that we obtained a large grant from the CMREF to support “the PVRI Global Registry” over the next 5 years. This project is aimed at expanding our mission of research and education in pulmonary vascular diseases (PVD) globally. The Pulmonary Hypertension Tripartite Global Registry will include the following:

  1. Creation of a 'GoDeep’ database, hosted at the Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany, which will be highly granular and involve deep phenotyping in terms of demographics, hemodynamics, imaging and serum biomarker parameters susceptible to be used for sophisticated research purposes.
  2. Creation of a 'GoGlobal’ registry, hosted by researchers at the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which will bring under one PVRI umbrella several registries from centers around the world with data entries limited to demographics and diagnoses. The aim is to provide a global overview of the prevalence and aetiology of pulmonary vascular diseases and pulmonary hypertension throughout the world.
  3. This initiative, within the tripartite project addresses the PVRI in the wider context of the 'Global Health' agenda, will aim to achieve global health representation with global health agencies. Effective advocacy campaigns will endeavor for pulmonary vascular disease to be recognized as a global disease burden by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other recognized bodies with a global health focus, such as the World Heart Federation (WHF) and the Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (NCDA). 

In closing, I would like to wish you all a pleasant summer and relaxing vacations. We will meet again in the fall with expanding activities which, we hope, will continue to be more challenging, diverse and inclusive in the spirit that has driven the PVRI in this and all preceding years. 

Paul


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